Genetic diversity of endangered sandalwood (Osyris lanceolata) populations in Kenya using ISSR molecular markers

DOI: 10.1080/00128325.2019.1605964
Author(s): KP AndiegoDepartment of Forestry and Wood Science, Kenya, OG DangasukDepartment of Biological Sciences, Kenya, DW OdeeBiotechnology Laboratory, Kenya, FS OmondiBiotechnology Laboratory, Kenya, DF OtienoDepartment of Biological Sciences, Kenya, BK BaloziDepartment of Forestry and Wood Science, Kenya


Osyris lanceolata is an evergreen, drought tolerant tropical African tree species belonging to the family Santalaceae. It is endangered, owing to overexploitation for its essential oil used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The study aimed at determining: (1) the genetic diversity; and (2) the population genetic differentiation in seven key O. lanceolata populations, representing its natural distribution in Kenya. Genotype data for ISSR neutral molecular markers were generated for seven populations of O. lanceolata. The percentage of polymorphic loci (P), ranged from 51% (Wundanyi) to 82% (Gwasii), with a mean of 65%. The mean number of effective alleles (Ne) was 1.430, whereas the Shannon Information Index (I) mean was 0.263. Gwasii population was the most genetically diverse followed by Mt Elgon and least was Wundanyi. The coefficient of differentiation Gst was 0.343. Results of analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that most of the genetic variation (62%) in O. lanceolata resided within populations. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) analysis showed that Baringo population located in the Rift Valley was genetically distinct from the rest of the populations. In conclusion, Gwasii, Mt Elgon and Baringo populations should be delineated for in situ conservation, whereas selection for ex situ conservation should target good trees from all the populations.

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